The first Energy Council under the Irish Presidency took place on 22nd February in Brussels. It started with an orientation debate on how to deal with possible Indirect Land Use Changes caused by the production of biofuels. Following that, the Council discussed the steps to be taken to complete the Internal Energy Market by 2014, as requested by the Heads of State or Government in 2011. This discussion was followed by an exchange of views on the Europe 2020 strategy. Under AOB, the Presidency informed participants about the state of play of negotiations with the Parliament on the proposal for a directive on safety of offshore oil and gas prospection, exploration and production activities.
During the discussion on the Internal Energy Market communication, Commissioner Oettinger stated: “There is a strong need for security of investment in the energy sector, for increased market integration of renewables and for better coordination at European level of national interventions in the electricity market. Member States and market players are equally involved, and I encourage them to create the conditions enabling consumers to benefit fully from liberalised and competitive energy markets”.
Today, the European Parliament and the Council reached a political agreement on the Commission's legislative proposal on the safety of oil and gas operations in the EU.
Günther Oettinger said: "I welcome this major step enhancing the safety of offshore oil and gas production in the EU. Past accidents have shown the devastating consequences when things go badly wrong offshore. Recent 'near-misses' in EU waters reminded us of the need for a stringent safety regime. These rules will make sure that the highest safety standards already mostly in place in some Member States will be followed at every oil and gas platform across Europe. Furthermore, the new law will ensure that we react effectively and promptly in the event of an accident and minimise the possible damage to the environment and the livelihoods of coastal communities."